So many things in life seem to "just happen," even though we never would have chosen them. They just sneak up on you. Little by little they grow on or away from you. No addict chose to be addicted. No buddy chooses to disappear from the life of their friend. It just sort of happens. Why? It's all about choosing. It's all about priorities.
God knows that, so he calls to you through Joshua 24:14-15, "Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve... But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord."
"Choose ye this day!" In other words - don't let things "just happen." Don't slide into things. Make a commitment.
Now realize, that commitment can only be made because the Holy Spirit has already caused faith, God has already overcome our natural hostility and made us his children. Now he's telling us to choose to keep up this status by "serving the Lord."
Because it's true: it's easy to slide if we don't make the spirit-led commitment not to. So choose. We have every reason to choose God. Think about it. The Israelites were standing there in the land God had promised their forefather Abraham and had so miraculously given them. We've been given even more: forgiveness of sins, a home in heaven, protection and provision every day here. We have every reason, like those Israelites, to listen to Joshua, that general whose name means "The Lord saves."
One of those reasons is that, through the word, we listen to the new Joshua, the one who went by the Greek translation of that name: Jesus. Jesus came to battle those enemies that seemed too great for us. Sin that we couldn't conquer. Guilt that we couldn't carry. The so powerful devil. Our Joshua went to war and defeated every temptation by choosing to use the powerful Word. He conquered our sin and guilt by choosing the cross. He sprang us free from death's control by rising from the dead.
That's who is talking to you here. Hear his challenge: choose ye this day.
He has already chosen you, so it's an easy choice. Just make it. So when you are setting your budget, don't let worry and fear make the decision: choose ye this day whom you will serve - the greed or your God.
When you are communicating with one another, don't let jealousy or envy make the decision, choose ye this day whom you will serve - pride or Christ's passion for that person.
When you are setting up your schedule - don't let laziness and apathy weasel in, Choose ye this day what area of life is most important to you.
In everything - choose ye this day whom you will serve. Yes, you do have a lot of options, but you must choose. Because if you don't, life will choose for you, and, let me tell you, that choice won't work out so well. Remember the out-of-love husband and the out-of-touch friend? They didn't choose.
But you... choose. Choose ye this day. Every single day, choose ye this day, whom you will serve, but as for me and my house - we will serve the Lord.
Rev. Jonathan Scharf is pastor of Abiding Grace Lutheran Church in Covington. Full sermons and more information can be found at www.abidinggrace.com.